Cricket: Ilott and Croft tarnish game with fracas

NATWEST TROPHY SEMI-FINAL: Tempers frayed as bad light brings close with Essex eight down and six short

Glamorgan 301-8 Essex 296-8

Rarely can a NatWest semi- final packed with so much incident and ill-temper have ended so inconclusively as the one here did yesterday. With 46 balls remaining, Essex, with two wickets in hand, needed six runs for victory when the umpires offered them the light.

It was a decision the home side gratefully accepted, but not before Glamorgan's Robert Croft and Mark Ilott had shared a difference of opinion, a fracas that ended with Ilott shoving the England off-spinner away.

With play officially being called off at 8.10, few could blame the batsmen for coming off. Facing Waqar Younis, one of the world's fastest bowlers in rapidly fading light, is tantamount to cricketing suicide, and their decision was later upheld by the Glamorgan captain, Matthew Maynard. Earlier there had also been two incidents involving Darren Thomas.

"It was tarnished a bit at the end," Maynard said. "Something went on out there." The English Cricket Board quickly instructed the umpires, David Constant and Chris Balderstone, not to comment, but some sort of official investigation into the incidents seems certain.

The Essex stand-in captain, Nasser Hussain, declined to comment, as did Ilott and Croft, while Maynard added: "I don't know what started it. I can't comment until I've spoken to everyone and found out what's gone on. I haven't heard the full story yet but I back my players 100 per cent.

"All our matches have been tense this year. We've shown a willingness to fight, which has been brilliant, and the players have been a credit to themselves.

"It's a difficult one. You must try and assess the situation when there's bad light. There's a young lad playing his first NatWest match [Tim Hodgson] and a guy who's played cricket for England in Ilott. Mark's been around for a while. The umpires probably made the right decision.

"It was getting too dark, wasn't it? I think the umpires did a tremendous job in trying to finish today. Nobody wanted the game to go to a second day."

The argy-bargy was by no means the only unsavoury moment in a match where tempers ran as hot as the steamy weather, and there were more than a few unpleasantries shared between batsman and bowler when Stuart Law's sensational innings of 90 had been brutally interrupted by a Thomas beamer.

Chasing Glamorgan's large total of 301, Law set off like a whirling dervish - Waqar's first three overs cost an alarming 28 runs. It was not until he reached 44 that the brisk and exuberant Thomas decided to test the Queenslander's reactions with a hand-to-head ball that smashed into Law's wrist as he tried to avoid decapitation.

Afterwards Maynard said he felt Law had over-reacted to the incident. He said: "We told him to pick up his rattle and dummy and put them back in his pram."

But if the warts and all tussle between the sides typified the crudeness of the English game, Law's innings shone like Hale-Bopp on a cloudless night. If further proof were needed of the vast gulf that exists between the English and Australian game you would have to go a long way to find it.

If his wrist was damaged, his weight of shot was not, and he pierced Glamorgan's defensive field at will. After Steve James's efficient century earlier in the day, its frenetic nature was the symbolic re-enactment of the hare and the tortoise.

That fable, however, holds a cautionary tale that Essex supporters will identify with, and when Law finally succumbed to a catch on the long-off fence, trying to clout Gary Butcher for a second six, the groans were audible.

They were justified, too, as the rest of the Essex batsmen adopted a gung-ho attitude to the chase. Only Ronnie Irani, whose brave and defiant innings of 51 was made after he had torn a rib cartilage bowling earlier in the day, showed the necessary coolness.

Although a painkilling injection was needed to ease the pain, it did not numb his head. In fact, that happened later when he "collided" with Thomas after the fast bowler had trapped him lbw.

It was Thomas's fourth wicket in 19 balls as Essex, after an appalling performance in the field where they dropped four catches, showed all their old weaknesses when chasing a total. Today may only offer a few balls, but it could go either way, particularly if Waqar is on target with his early deliveries.

Chelmsford scoreboard

Essex won toss

GLAMORGAN

S P James c Robinson b Grayson 109

H Morris c S Law b Cowan 6

A Dale c Grayson b Grayson 45

*M P Maynard run out 26

P A Cottey c Grayson b Ilott 56

R D B Croft run out 14

G P Butcher not out 18

A D Shaw run out 1

S D Thomas c S Law b Cowan 1

Extras (lb9, w10, nb6) 25

Total (for 8, 60 overs) 301

Fall: 1-13, 2-115, 3-165, 4-251, 5-276, 6-291, 7-294, 8-301.

Did not bat: Waqar Younis, S L Watkin.

Bowling: Ilott 12-2-50-1; Cowan 12-0-62-2; Irani 9.2-0-36-0; S G Law 5.4-0-37-0; Such 12-0-56-0; Grayson 9-0-51-2.

ESSEX

D D J Robinson c Cottey b Watkin 62

S G Law c Younis b Butcher 90

*N Hussain c Maynard b Watkin 28

R C Irani lbw b Thomas 51

A P Grayson c Shaw b Thomas 22

D R Law b Thomas 17

R J Rollins c James b Thomas 2

A P Cowan lbw b Thomas 2

T P Hodgson not out 0

M C Ilott not out 0

Extras (b4, lb6, w6, nb6) 22

Total (for 8, 53.1 overs) 296

Fall: 1-150, 2-194, 3-195, 4-256, 5-280, 6-286, 7-295, 8-295.

To bat: P M Such.

Bowling: Watkin 12-1-64-2; Waqar 8.1-1-45-0; Thomas 11-0-70-4; Croft 12-0-47-0; Butcher 7-0-39-1; Dale 3-0-21-0.

Umpires: J C Balderstone and D J Constant.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Recruitment Genius: Development Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit